Tuesday, 23 October 2018

HALLOWEEN BAKING IDEAS

I'm a pretty lazy baker these days (my previous applying-for-Bake-Off-self wouldn't be proud), but if there's anything that's going to motivate me, it's Halloween inspired baking. I just love themed things!

I've been busy on pinterest, picking out the creepiest cakes and the most devilish of desserts, which would all be a delight, whether you are throwing a party, hanging out with pals, or just want to creep out your colleagues.

I'm particularly in love with the brushstroke ghost cake (so cute! so on-trend!), the blood-splattered cookies are simple, but very effective, and I have a sweet spot for gory things, so the gruesome anatomical heart cake is definitely a showstopper (ahem, and I'm possibly biased because I baked that myself). Whatever you choose to do, have a delicious Halloween!


Top row

Middle row

Bottom row

Monday, 15 October 2018

HALLOWEEN WISHLIST

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I'm a big fan of Halloween (which you'll see if you scroll through my old Halloween tutorials), and I always love it when October rolls around.

October means ghost stories, scary films, dark, cold nights, witchy dressing and spooky accessories, so with that in mind, I've put together a wishlist to celebrate the creepiest time of year...


1. Who you gonna call? I love this ghostbusters-inspired tote bag, which is perfect for this time of year!

2. I have long had my eye on a pair of beautiful Rogue Matilda brogues, but look how beautiful (and perfectly Halloween themed!) this black patent pair are.

3. Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace muses on the magic of women in the witch doesn't burn in this one - a collection of poems mixing mysticism and lore. It's been called a "fiery, accessible call-to-arms in a time where young women need every rebellious spark", which sounds pretty magical to me.

4. One of the best 90s Halloween movies, I love Hocus Pocus! Put a spell on everyone with this cute slogan sweatshirt.

5. Some people don't like the clocks changing, but I'm a fan of properly dark, crisp nights. Perfect for lighting candles and cosying in, so what better than a smoke & musk candle - a bespoke blend of green balsam fir, with wood smoke and deep, musky patchouli.

6. Tatty Devine have a whole range of halloween-themed jewellery (that anatomical heart brooch!) but I'm very into their witchy magic hands necklace, inspired by protective charms.

7. Lasercut wonders Black Heart Creatives have an full Season of the Witch collection, with shadows, shrines and crescent moons. I like these tiny cat earrings, a sweet nod to the season.

8. Show your love for everyone's favourite paranormal duo with this cute Mulder & Scully collar clip set.

9. And finally, how adorable is this tiny bat enamel pin

Monday, 8 October 2018

SHORT HAIR DIARIES

It's been eight months (!) since I cut all my hair off. I chopped a pixie cut on a bit of a whim, after having a long bob for ages, and it's the first time I've ever had hair this short. So, how am I finding pixie life?


The Good
Overall, having a pixie cut has been the BEST experience. 

I'm a lazy person, and a pixie cut has been a game changer. It's SO easy. I have so much time! Washing it takes seconds, and as it's so short (and I barely touch it), it stays cleaner for much longer, meaning I basically wash my hair every 4-5 days now. I don't dry it or use any heat on it, so my hair's much happier, and I don't even brush it, I just roughly style it with my hands and use a tiny bit of product to give it definition. I've easily shaved 30 minutes off getting ready each day, which is amazing. I can't imagine returning to the horror of having to dry and straighten my hair in the morning.

And pixie cuts are cool! People say nice things to me about my hair the whole time, which is such a joyous little boost when you're just going about your day. I had slightly worried if I had the 'right face' for short hair, because I'm not a chisel-jawed model, but I'm so glad I didn't dwell on insecurities and just went ahead and chopped it. I've liked having it super short, and I'm liking having it a bit scruffier, and that's the cool thing with pixie cuts - they grow so quickly, it's easy to play around and find the right version for you. 


The Bad
I realise that I've always used my hair as a bit of an accessory. I loved wearing it curly or doing interesting plaits, or even just wearing it up in a big messy bun with a headscarf. You can always change up your look when you have hair, and it's weird not having that option - every day my hair pretty much looks the same. It's the same when I'm going to a fancy red carpet event, and it's the same when I am slumming it in my pyjamas on a Sunday.

That's both good and bad. It is SO nice not having to worry or think about your hair ever. It used to drive me mad when I wanted to look nice and my hair would frizz up in the heat - now, there's no hair to frizz! And if you're rushing to go somewhere after work, it's a total delight to not even think about having to do anything with your hair - pixies look cute at all times of the day. 

I'll admit to having two major hair pangs - once when I came across a photo of me with a curly bob, and instantly missed the feeling of having swooshy hair (I haven't swooshed in months!), and on holiday, when it dawned on me that no hair also meant no magically-perfect-seasalt-holiday hair (my secret best hair move). It's been weird at those points realising that I am VERY FAR AWAY from  having princessy locks again.


The Ugly
And the worst bit currently? If I brush my hair into a centre parting, I literally have 90s boyband curtains. I look like a scruffy version of A1, which isn't exactly on my pinterest board. I've been getting my hair cut every two months, which is just enough to curb the risk of a mullet, although I should probably go a bit more regularly - this isn't a haircut you can cut it and then leave to grow out happily (luckily my hairdresser is great, and I'd go all the time if I could afford it, but I know not everyone is as snip-happy as I am). 


Would I recommend it?
Without question! The things that annoy me about it are minuscule compared to how much I've loved this haircut. Convincing people to cut their hair off has been added to my regular soapbox topics (along with: why hedgehogs make the best apartment pets; why Star Trek Deep Space Nine is actually one of the best political dramas of our time; and how Mamma Mia 2 is the best film of 2018). You should do it!

Friday, 5 October 2018

WHAT TO SEE AT THE FESTIVAL OF PHYSICS

I'm a fan of all things clever and curious, so it's safe to say that I'm looking forward to the Festival of Physics - a celebration of the wonder of science, the power of curiosity and the inventions and discoveries that shape our world and our future.

From Friday 26th - Sunday 28th October, the Institute of Physics have a packed three-day programme of scintillating science shows, hands-on workshops and inspiring experiences, plus creative conversations from the domains of music, theatre and art alongside talks and lectures for all ages.

Taking place (with one exception!) at Edinburgh's Dynamic Earth, the majority of the programme is free of charge, making it super easy for everyone to explore the universe, learn something new, and take a chance on some science fun.


There's loads of events on for people of all ages, but here's the stuff that's caught my eye:

Astronomy on Tap
I like space, I like pub quizzes, and I like having my mind blown by cool science facts, so this sounds great. This night has three local scientists doing informative and exciting short talks, with fun pub quizzes and space-themed goodies up for grabs.
Saturday 27th October, 9pm

Space & Time
Ever wondered what the heck space-time is? Astronomers from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh chat about the fundamental components of the universe and how scientists use them to uncover its secrets.You'll find out about how they are creating new technology to look at ancient galaxies, and track changes in space-time. Space secrets!
Sunday 28th October, all-day drop-in activity

Cooking with Science: A Culinary Arts workshop
Ever wondered why store-bought ice-cream can stay out of the fridge for longer than home-made one? Looking at this, and all sorts of innovative fancy cooking things made possible by science, this interactive workshops dives into the culinary arts and shows you how to make bubble tea, as well as lots of other delicious demos.
Saturday 27th (2pm) and Sunday 28th October (3pm)
Buy tickets (£3) here

Photography at the Speed of Light
Get an ultrafast portrait taken using a camera with frame rates so high they can see light move at 300 million meters per second! This super-cool technology shows you the physical effects when you're hit by a pulse of light, and is going to be used for all sorts of interesting things in the future, like driverless cars.
Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October, all-day drop-in activity

Physics Wizardry: Potions Class
Yeah, yeah, I know this is definitely an event aimed at kids, but I want to learn how to make magical potions! With the power of physics, this workshop shows you how to make spectacular potions with unexpected effects, learning how to turn some boring liquids into some much more impressive, intriguing and beautiful substances.
Saturday 27th (12noon) and Sunday 28th October (3.30pm)

Prof Fay Dowker: Past, Present and Future: The Science of Time
Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, Prof Fay Dowker knows a thing or two about time. This (free!) talk explores the history and future of time from Newtonian-model physics to quantum gravity, and the fascinating possibilities emerging from the world of cutting-edge theoretical physics.
Saturday 27th, 7pm

Modern Times 
Science comedian Helen Keen presents a very special screening of Chaplin's 1936 classic comedy Modern Times, followed by a discussion and Q&A (with lols) inspired by time - how we conceptualise and measure it, the relationships between human, industrial and deep time, and what the future holds for our understanding of space-time.
Saturday 27th, 5.45pm, Filmhouse
Book tickets (£10) here

View the full Festival of Physics programme here.

Monday, 1 October 2018

LIFE LATELY

If there's anything that years of blogging has taught me, it's that I am completely incapable of juggling fun hobby deadlines (i.e. weekly blogs) with actual serious work deadlines. I had felt like I had done a pretty good job of resurrecting this blog, but then film fest life took over, I had loads of deadlines, then we had to deliver the actual thing, then I went on holiday, crashed, holidayed again, and here I am!

I reckon I just need to get comfortable with the fact that this is how I handle my work-life balance. I'm always going to be a sporadic blogger when real-life amps up, and I think that's okay. So rather than make a big fuss about returning to blogging (again), I thought I'd catch you up on my summer!

Here's what I got up to:

We ran a film festival!


It was my third Edinburgh International Film Festival, which took place in June this year, with over 500 screenings, absolutely loads of filmmakers in town, 20 venues across Edinburgh, and 1 slightly disruptive heatwave. I'm the Festival's Head of Development, which means my team & I bring in and look after all of our funders, sponsors, partners, donors, and anyone else kind enough to want to donate to us, or cool enough to want to be part of the action (and why wouldn't you? Support your local festival!).

The most common question you get working in festivals is 'so what do you do the rest of the year?', as if the whole thing pops up overnight, and then is packed away. We were working on EIFF 2021 (ahh!) before we delivered this year's EIFF, so it is a bit of a never-ending task, but it's fair to say that it properly ramps up a few months before it takes place, and completely takes over your life.

Despite the stress/lack of weekends/general dehydration, I love festival life. I'm so lucky to have wonderful festival pals, and this year I got to see loads of amazing films, meet really interesting people, attend fascinating events (how Pixar design costumes! So cool), and the very best part of my job - reading the nice comments from our audiences each year (always guaranteed to make me a bit teary). I am quite glad there's a while before the next one though.


I went camping!


I'm a total camping convert these days, and for the last few years have ventured up north to the Highlands for a week of wild camping. This year we went the furthest we have ever gone, and drove up to Loch Assynt, a beautiful loch with a ruined castle on its banks and the legend of a mermaid in its waters, about 5-6 hours drive from Edinburgh.

There's a wee road that goes around the loch, but we squirrelled ourselves out of sight by its banks, and it was the most perfect week. I read loads of books (including the perfect book to read while camping), we ate amazing campfire food and drank wine out of boxes, we paddled to the loch's tiny islands in seek of firewood, and spent days just soaking in the quiet air and beautiful views. It's trips like this that make me want to up sticks and move somewhere very quiet and a bit tucked away from the world, I didn't want it to end.


It was the Edinburgh Festivals!


A bit of a change of pace, but as always, August in Edinburgh means Festival time! I think this was possibly my least enthusiastic year - I was still feeling a bit zoned out after film fest when tickets went on sale, which meant I missed out on a few things, and I didn't quite have the energy to try and navigate the 1000s of events that were on (although I was happy to sample the 1000s of festival bars that popped up).

Edinburgh International Festival stole the show with their opening event, Five Telegrams - a super cool and very beautiful event inspired by telegrams sent during the first world war - with digital artwork projected onto Edinburgh's Usher Hall, live choirs, and a moving orchestral score. They keep setting the bar higher for their opening events each year - I can't wait to see what they do next.


I went to Croatia!


And finally, I'm just back from a trip to Croatia... which will be the third time I've gone on holiday to a Croatian island, as I just love it there so much!

This time we went to Bra─Ź and stayed in this amazing, quirky cottage which was also a total bargain (thanks Airbnb!). The weather was beautiful, even hotter than I had expected for this time of year, so we spent a week exploring the island, reading books (in that hammock!), eating seafood, and just switching off from the nonsense of the everyday world. Can I go back?
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